HEALTH — 02 September 2013

It comes as no surprise that athletes get injured.  Given the brutal demands of the sport they pursue, it’s an assumed risk.  Even the truly elite—NFL star Adrian Peterson, NBA icon Kobe Bryant, MMA Juggernaut Jon Jones, etc—have sustained some pretty serious injuries at some point in their career.

Given world-class help, and some amazing God given abilities, these guys came back better than ever!  But don’t let these guys fool you; these are most certainly the outliers when it comes to sporting injuries.

No one is Teflon, and anyone can get hurt.  Once you get older, however, you become even more susceptible to obtaining an injury.  Luckily today, we’ll dig into how the older grapplers out there can go about preparing—and PREVENTING—potential injuries that may occur while grappling with the younger wave of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players.

Preparing Yourself For The Wear & Tear Of Battle

It’s a given; when you step onto the mat for training or competition, you WILL be taking some bumps and bruises home Heliowith you.  No matter how safe and conservative you become in your approach to the sport, there will always be some pains joining you on the ride home.

However—for the older readers out there—there is a way you can go about preventing these injuries.  For instance, there are certain positions I would avoid completely such as the inverted guard and rubber guard.  These positions in particular will cause great stress on specific joints and will do you no favors…plus, they can be difficult to work from to boot!

A big part is finding what suits you the best.  If your most effective position is the half guard, then so be it!  Become the best half-guard player in your gym and make sure your opponents quake as you step onto the mat. Just because of your age doesn’t mean you can’t become a great BJJ fighter. Check out these interviews and videos with 4 of the world’s best black belts all over the age of 40 at ScienceOfSkill.com

Being able to compete within your physical limits is a must.  Once you find your best position, ride it till the wheels fall off.

The Battle Within-Gaining The Mental Edge

Now that you have your ideal positions and go-to moves, it’s time to hit the mat and roll—or even compete!  With the understanding of where you have to be physically, it’s a must that you have the proper mental approach.

  • ALWAYS be positive!  If you say “I can’t” or “I won’t” then you are destined for that fate.
  • Control your breathing patterns.  Take nice, deep breaths while competing to help conserve energy.
  • Rest when you can!  There will be times when your opponent isn’t looking to do much; take advantage of this and rest when you can!
  • Pay attention to your opponents breathing.  If you key in on how they breathe, then this can work for you.  This will tell you if they’re resting, if they’re gassed, angry, etc.
  • SMILE!  Simply put; have fun!  You chose to compete and/or live roll, so have fun with it.

If you take these simple steps, then you should have problem hanging with younger grapplers.  Everyone is human and has the same basic tools—it’s how you choose to use them that will separate you from the rest of the pack! BJJ is much more than just a sport, its a lifestyle. In this article on Sherdog.com you can learn about BJJ practitioners over 40 and their daily lives with BJJ.

-Dan Faggella

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